Thirteen years ago, I was sitting in front of our thick computer playing a spelling game. I still remember the bright yellow on the screen.
I was 12 years old, in my last full year as a homeschooler, and it’s my only homeschooling memory I can pin down to a specific day.
My mom interrupted my game to tell me about two planes crashing into two towers in New York City.
That’s where I was when I found out about the 9/11 terrorist attacks: The first event to imbed itself in the minds of an entire generation. My generation.
At that age, I was in the habit of acquiring journals, writing a few pages in them, and then abandoning them. That night, I opened my current diary — one of those pretty ones with a lock and key — and wrote these words:
Something very awful happened today. Terrorists hijacked four passenger planes — gigantic ones. Two of them flew right into and destroyed the two buildings of the World Trade Center. … I’m scared that this might be the beginning of World War III!
All of us who were old enough to remember, old enough to understand, were affected by that day, weren’t we?
Thirteen years later, I have friends I laugh with and watch movies with who were no more than four years old when those planes did their damage. I marvel at how much can fit into the ten years between us, how events that I can never forget are events that they can never remember.
9/11 pulled me of my own little world and gave me a glimpse of a bigger one, of hurts beyond my own that became my own. This shouldn’t be a few-and-far-between occurrence. When pictures of brokenness creep into the corners of my vision, I want to open the curtains and look into the hurting faces until I can’t ignore them, until I have to do something about the pain because I’m hurting too.
May we weep with those who weep.